Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” is delightful, for adults as well as children. It was definitely a hit with my 6 year-old granddaughter, Molly, who was spellbound. My other guests, my niece Kelly, a senior at Indiana University, and her mother (my sister-in-law) Christine both said they loved it too. Kudos to CST for doing their summer musical with the same class and style as their Shakespeare. 4 BIG Spotlights for “The Little Mermaid”!
Director and Choreographer Rachel Rockwell really knows how to get the most out of her cast. She’s incorporated tumbling, aerials and elements of rhythmic gymnastics into the choreography, added colorful puppets of fish and other undersea creatures and even has the sea gulls tap dancing! My friend Steven Spanopoulos, a member of the hard-working ensemble, told me this production was the most complicated he’s ever done.
Molly happened to be sitting in the aisle seat when Ariel (Rachel Eskenazi-Gold) stopped right next to her. The look on her face when she noticed Ariel standing there was priceless! Molly told me that was one of her favorite parts. Speaking of Ariel, I have to say that Eskenazi-Gold is perfect as Ariel, the rebellious youngest daughter of King Triton (Matthew R. Jones), who is fascinated with humans. She’s tiny but she has a mighty voice!
Whenever she finds something the humans have tossed into the sea, Ariel and her best friend, Flounder (Matthew Uzarraga), travel to the surface to visit with Scuttle (Matt Crowle), the tap-dancing Seagull. Since he lives on the surface, Scuttle is considered an expert on the humans even though he makes up everything he says. When Uzarraga uses the rollers in his shoes to glide around stage, he actually looks like a fish!
On the surface, Prince Eric (Brandon Springman) doesn’t want to be a king, he wants to be a sailor. When he’s thrown overboard during a storm, Ariel saves his life. She sings for him but leaves before he sees her. After he hearing Ariel singing, he searched everywhere for that voice.
Meanwhile, Ursula (Rebecca Finnegan) the Octopus is gleefully plotting against her brother, King Triton. Her hench-eels, Flotsam (Sean Blake and Jetsam (Adam Fane), suggest that Ariel is Triton’s weakness, so Ursula decides to use her fascination with humans to trap her.
Before Ursula ever appeared, Molly told me she didn’t like this part. In fact, my son told me that they never get through the whole movie because Molly gets scared. She was brave enough to stay, although she covered her eyes at one point.
Although Molly rarely says much about the plays we’ve seen, I’ve discovered that if she really liked the play, she’ll stand in line for autographs, but forget about pictures! If she didn’t like it, she’s ready to leave – right now! After “The Little Mermaid”, Molly literally dragged me to the line waiting for Ursula’s autograph. She even let me snap a picture!
After the performance we all agreed that “Under the Sea” was our favorite production number, although “Les Poissons”, sung by Prince Eric’s Chef Louis (Matthew R. Jones) ran a close second.
In addition to the review done by Ms Moore, my daughter-in-law’s niece attended yesterday with some friends and here is what they had to add:
We brought two friends (sisters) and they all wrote reviews. The show was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Hope these add a nice contribution to your website and followers.
“This play was spectacular. The Little Mermaid, a production made possible by director Rachel Rockwell, and the amazing acting team is an entertaining
musical and should be enjoyed by spectators of all ages. The characters are very well presented.” Ellory, 11 years old
“This play is great for families and very funny. I liked all the characters because they were great and the each did a wonderful job. My favorite costume was Ursula’s because I loved her tentacles that were on her dress. All the costumes matched the characters perfectly. I DEFINITELY recommend it for everyone. All of the seats are great and it’s entertaining for the whole family.” Natalie, 10 years old
“My favorite character was Ursula because her costume had many details. My favorite song was ‘Les Poissons.’ The actors memorized their lines very well. The play is kid-friendly and adults will really like it too. They were almost always singing, kind of like a musical. I think that you would have to be older than 3 to see the musical, but most kids will love it. It had some songs that were not in the movie, but they were great too. Flounder was very funny, and I loved all the other characters too. I would recommend the play very much.” Maya 10 years old
I think they need an editor, but I promised to submit to you as is. And they just wrote them yesterday, so I’m sure they will remember.
Thank you again, the girls truly appreciated the show. The older sister told her younger sister she has to marry a guy with a job like yours.
“Disney’s, The Little Mermaid” runs through August 16th in the Courtyard Theater at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier, Chicago. Performances are Wednesdays at 11:00 am; Thursdays through Sundays at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Running time is 75 minutes. Tickets range from $22-$34. CST patrons receive a 40% discount on parking in the Navy Pier Garages, so remember to get your ticket validated in the CST lobby or at the box office. FYI (312) 595-5600 or www.chicagoshakes.com.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “The Little Mermaid”.